Monday, 5 May 2014

Clontarf Revisited

At the end of yesterday's post on refighting Clontarf I posted a few thoughts on making it a more 'accurate' game (as far as such terms can be applied to any HOTT game). I did some reading around - I wouldn't dignify it with the term 'research' - and picked up a few ideas for making more of a challenge out of it.

Firstly the actual armies themselves. The army of Brian Boru can stay the same as how I depicted it in yesterday's refight; ten Warband (including the general) and two Blades, with the latter representing Norse allies. I'll call this army The Irish.

In yesterday's refight I ran the other army as pretty much a straight Viking one. This is not really what it was, as in essence it was an Irish rebel army with Norse/Viking allies. So I'll call this army the Rebels, base it on the standard Irish army and add in a heavy Norse contingent. Eight Warbamd and four Blades would be about right.

From reading around it looks like my terrain setup wasn't quite right. I had the sea on one flank and woods on the other. In fact it seems more likely that the Rebels had their backs to the sea, with the woods at 90 degrees to it' running along one flank. There was a river covering the other flank, with Dublin beyond it, but that need not be depicted as it can be assumed to be the table boundary.

Two features that do seem important were the bridge back to Dublin, that was in the Rebel rear, and the elderly Brian Boru, camped on top of a small hill praying for success. These could be depicted by doing something slightly radical for a HOTT game; giving both armies a stronghold. That for the Irish represents their king in his camp. The one for the rebels represents their only line of retreat back to Dublin.

Finally a couple of special rules for colour and balance. On the Irish side the men of Meath seemed uncommitted, and hung back until they were sure that their side was winning. To this end, one of the Irish Warbands is deployed on their base edge, and cannot move until it is activated. It is activated once it is engaged in combat. It is also activated if they think that the Irish are winning the battle. If the Irish roll a '6' for PIPs, and the Rebels have lost more AP than the Irish at that it, then the Men of Meath may move and fight freely.

The Rebels were an alliance between various Irish, Norse-Irish and Norse kings and earls, some of who had their ow agendas. To simulate this, any group move by the Rebel army which would include both Blades and Warband costs an extra PIP.

So with all that in mind, I set the game up again this evening, and played it through.

Here's the two armies lined up - Irish on the right and Rebels on the left.

Brian Boru prays for victory, protected by his personal guard.

The Rebels with their Norse allies.

The lines close rapidly. The Rebels rearrange their deployment as they advance.

The fighting begins.

On the Rebel left the attack is repulsed.

But in the centre the a gap opens up in the Rebel line, and their general is outflanked.

He and his bodyguard are cut down, giving he battle to the Irish.

The final position. This time there were three rounds of combat.

To be honest, with all of the Warband I expected more of a shoving match over a few turns. But the vital first kill was right next to the Rebel general, and on their bound, so the Irish were able to exploit it in their bound.

Sadly I have other things I need to be doing now, so I won't be able to try another refight for a bit. Still, this second one felt far better as a game, and as a recreation of the actual battle.


  1. nice blog, pal. wish you like mine also:)

  2. Good tweaks to add flavour. I can't believe it was over so soon with the loss of a general. Mind you, I have been known to lose a general sooner than that in an epic 40K HOTT game!


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